We’ve all heard, and probably laughed at, the commercials for erectile dysfunction medications and their warning to see a doctor if it stays up for more than four hours, but it was no laughing matter when a spider carrying the same side effect was found inside a shipping container in the north-western harbor city of Bremerhaven, Germany.
A crew of ten firefighters donning hazmat suits were called in by custom officials to exterminate the Brazilian wandering spider, also known as a banana spider, whose bite has made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the most venomous. Just one bite from this spider can lead to loss of muscle control, excruciating pain, shortness of breath and a killer four-hour erection in men, though most deaths come from oxygen deprivation.
The spider was contained inside the shipping crate, which the firefighters filled with the eight-legged beast’s arch nemesis: carbon dioxide sourced from fire extinguishers. Even once the spider was confirmed to be dead, a shovel was carefully used to remove it as no one wanted to risk exposure.
As the spider is quite common in South America, effective anti-venoms are thankfully readily available.